Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service reminds citizens to avoid winter fire hazards

Released: December 28, 2017 at 11:47 a.m.

Winnipeg, MB - The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service reminds citizens that even though temperatures have dropped, the winter season can still present fire hazards.

Follow these tips to keep your home and family safe:

Block Heater Safety

  • Regularly inspect your block heater cord for damage.
  • Use a protective cover on the plug end to prevent corrosion and dirt buildup.
  • Use the proper gauge extension cord for vehicle block heaters.
  • If you park in an attached garage, do not plug-in your vehicle.

Winter Garage Safety

  • Make sure all garage heating appliances are in good working condition. A heating appliance that repeatedly blows a fuse or trips a circuit breaker should be inspected by a licensed electrician.
  • Never use an extension cord to plug in a major heating appliance in place of permanent wiring.
  • Store all household chemicals away from any heat source.
  • Store garbage outside of the garage and well away from any heat source.

Portable Heater Safety

  • Make sure all electric heaters have the seal of a nationally recognized certification agency, such as CSA or Underwriters Laboratories of Canada.
  • Avoid overloading a circuit with "octopus outlets". If additional outlets or circuits are required, have them installed by a licensed electrician.
  • Keep space heaters at least one metre (3 feet) away from anything that can burn, including curtains, upholstery and clothing.
  • Use only portable space heaters that have been designed for indoor use and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never leave portable heaters unattended.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

  • Have fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, wood-burning fireplaces and gas dryers cleaned and checked annually by a qualified service technician.
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm on all levels of your home and outside each sleeping area and test the alarms monthly.
  • Never idle vehicles in an attached garage even if the garage door is open.
  • Ensure that all fresh air intake vents, exhaust vents and chimneys are clear of snow, insulation, leaves, bird nests, lint or debris.
  • Make sure wood and coal-burning stoves are properly installed and vented.
  • Don’t operate gasoline-powered engines, charcoal or propane barbecue/grills, or kerosene stoves in closed spaces or indoors.
  • Check forced air fans for proper ventilation.

For more information on how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, visit Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service – Carbon Monoxide Safety.

Winter Safety for Smokers

  • The best way to prevent home fires caused by smoking is by not smoking.
  • If you do smoke, the safest place to do so is outside the home or garage.
  • Do not put cigarettes out in empty planters or pots. Materials such as peat moss can cause a cigarette to smolder for hours unnoticed.
  • Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away and use a sturdy ashtray.
  • Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash.

Frozen Internal Plumbing Safety

  • Prevent you internal plumbing from freezing by following these tips from the City of Winnipeg Water and Waste Department.
  • If your internal plumbing does freeze, do not use a propane heater or open flame device (ex: blow torch, candle, butane lighter) to thaw the pipe.
  • The WFPS also advises that residents avoid using space heaters, heat guns, hair dryers, heating pads or any other electrical appliances to thaw frozen pipes. Leaking water could cause an electrical shock.

For more information on fire and injury prevention, visit Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.

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